ICTs and the challenge of health system transition in low and middle-income countries

Gerald Bloom, Evangelia Berdou, Hilary Standing, Zhilei Guo, Alain B Labrique

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Abstract

The aim of this paper is to contribute to debates about how governments and other stakeholders can influence the application of ICTs to increase access to safe, effective and affordable treatment of common illnesses, especially by the poor. First, it argues that the health sector is best conceptualized as a 'knowledge economy'. This supports a broadened view of health service provision that includes formal and informal arrangements for the provision of medical advice and drugs. This is particularly important in countries with a pluralistic health system, with relatively underdeveloped institutional arrangements. It then argues that reframing the health sector as a knowledge economy allows us to circumvent the blind spots associated with donor-driven ICT-interventions and consider more broadly the forces that are driving e-health innovations. It draws on small case studies in Bangladesh and China to illustrate new types of organization and new kinds of relationship between organizations that are emerging. It argues that several factors have impeded the rapid diffusion of ICT innovations at scale including: the limited capacity of innovations to meet health service needs, the time it takes to build new kinds of partnership between public and private actors and participants in the health and communications sectors and the lack of a supportive regulatory environment. It emphasises the need to understand the political economy of the digital health knowledge economy and the new regulatory challenges likely to emerge. It concludes that governments will need to play a more active role to facilitate the diffusion of beneficial ICT innovations at scale and ensure that the overall pattern of health system development meets the needs of the population, including the poor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number56
JournalGlobalization and Health
Volume13
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 7 2017

Fingerprint

Health Transition
Health
Diffusion of Innovation
Public-Private Sector Partnerships
Organizations
Health Communication
Bangladesh
Health Services Needs and Demand
Optic Disk
Health Services
China
Pharmaceutical Preparations
Population

Keywords

  • Digital health
  • E-Health
  • Health knowledge economy
  • Universal health coverage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

ICTs and the challenge of health system transition in low and middle-income countries. / Bloom, Gerald; Berdou, Evangelia; Standing, Hilary; Guo, Zhilei; Labrique, Alain B.

In: Globalization and Health, Vol. 13, No. 1, 56, 07.08.2017.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Bloom, Gerald ; Berdou, Evangelia ; Standing, Hilary ; Guo, Zhilei ; Labrique, Alain B. / ICTs and the challenge of health system transition in low and middle-income countries. In: Globalization and Health. 2017 ; Vol. 13, No. 1.
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